Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Plymouth 30th July

30 July 2007

This morning seems so long ago that it’s hard to remember what we did. I paid the Bella Vista Motel bill - $1054.40… and then the motelier came running up the stairs with my $10 Internet cable bond.

Having packed, stripped the beds and done everything we had to do (D.C.’s ended up carrying her thick jacket in her Kumfs bag) we, managing to avoid the rain, walked down to Puke Ariki. There, we met with Diana Gibbons and said that if the offer to take us to the airport was still there, we’d accept. She said that she’d realised that she could take us after her “white gloves” talk and that it wasn’t a problem. (The only problem is that I’ve given her my cold… either that or her sister has.) We left our bags at Puke Ariki and went and posted my Thunderbirds jumper and some other items and then, before it started raining, fed the ducks our remaining crust of bread. Then we had a look around the “City Centre” mall, managed to avoid buying anything though we did see some bargains, and had lunch – hotcakes with lots of fresh fruit (orange, banana, apple, grapes, kiwifruit), wild berry sauce and yogurt - $12.50 and apple juice $3.20 each. Very nice.

Then we went back to Puke Ariki and sat in on Diana’s white gloves talk. That was interesting. It was a showing off of items in the museum’s archives and of course the archivists used white gloves to touch the items. Diana showed off maps of New Plymouth and showed how they changed over the years and the same with tourist brochures. Andrew (I think) showed some crockery that had been buried by a family during the land wars so that they could retrieve it after the hostilities were over. The problem was that landmarks had changed when they went back to get them, and so the priceless china lay undisturbed from the 1860s until the 1920s when a farmer, the new owner of the land, happened to plough them up. They are in good condition.

One lady present for the talk had been to Ann’s opening and was asking us questions about Uncle Fred.

Then we talked to Diana about leaving the quilts at Puke Ariki on long term loan, until we decide it they can have them permanently. She was trying to be delicate and tip-toe around issues until I said that we were in two minds. On one had we’re very aware that the quilts should be kept together and that we can’t care for them properly, while on the other ‘pragmatic’ side of things, we don’t have a lot of money. She said that she thought that was the case and that, with no guarantees, she’d see if an offer couldn’t be made. We know that it wouldn’t be as much as if some rich Americans bought them individually, but the collection is of “international importance” and shouldn’t be broken up. And, really, they should remain in Taranaki.

Then Diana took us to the airport, made sure we were okay and said goodbye. We gave her our heartfelt thanks.

I asked about taking photos during lift off and landing and the gentleman who booked us in said that he’d only learnt that recently too, and that he wasn’t sure why.

2.00pm and we made our way to gate three, which appeared to be exactly the same as gates one to four, and probably wasn’t a lot different to gates five upwards. We walked across the tarmac to Thunderbird Seven and were first into the plane. We were in row 12 A & B and the only row behind us were two seats in our aisle.

I think the pilots (one was a lady) on this flight were better than the ones from Wellington. Take off was very smooth and the bank around to face north was less ‘stressful.’ But I think they were sailing a boat because they did some tacking and as we got closer to Auckland we ran into some clouds and over a few potholes. At one point we seemed to go into a bit of a dive and there were a couple of unexpected drops and recovers, but on the whole I wasn’t worried. I might have been less happy if we could have seen the ground instead of being surrounded by cloud. It was more like a train trip with a few misplaced sleepers. The little boy over the aisle reckoned that the pilot needed to learn to drive again.

We got to Auckland, and made the walk across to the terminal without getting wet. Got our bags and eventually (they are upgrading the domestic terminal) found where the Airbus left from. Paid $13 each with our YHA membership discount and got brought into town and dropped off in Queen Street outside of Fort Street. Booked into the X-Base. D.C. paid $75 for the room plus $20 for the key bond, we got settled and then went out to find something to eat.

After a trip up to Skycity to see if their lockers were working, we went to Tony’s “Lord Nelson” for dinner. I had lemon crumbed chicken schnitzel ($26.50) and D.C. had scallops $13.50 and a side order of veges $6.00 and we each had an apple juice $4.00 each. This is coming out of the money that Ann gave us.

Had a look around Whitcoulls. There are a lot of DVDs, books and games that we’d like to get but they cost money and we would have to carry them.

Back to the X-Base and we went to bed at 7.00pm. I’m typing my diary, before proofing Ursula White again, and D.C.’s reading.

And we still haven’t seen Mount Taranaki! We are convinced that it doesn’t exist and is a myth!

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